Cherokee Ranch - Romagnola RomAngus is located in Stewart county along the Tennessee River. We have been in the cattle business since 1987, starting out with Beefmaster cattle. Cherokee Ranch became known for breeding and developing some of the most prestigious lines of cattle with famous names such as Cherokee Phantom USA, Sequoyah, the “Diamond” line of cattle. Early 1993, while attending a Beefmaster sale in Reno, Nevada, we noticed Romagnola breeders were having a sale following the Beefmaster sale. In talking to the Romagnola breeders, they were convincing that they could predict what the offspring would look like before it was born. That was very interesting to me. I was so impressed with the cattle, I bought seven head and shipped them back to the ranch in Tennessee to see if what the breeders enthusiastically reported about the Romagnola breed was true.

After almost twenty years of breeding Romagnola cattle from genetics gathered from many parts of the globe, Cherokee Ranch has earned a reputation as the leader in quality and diversity of Romagnola genetics.

Romagnola grazing on cactusOur experience shows Romagnola cattle are hardy and efficient in extreme conditions. We have seen them survive in Australian drought conditions when cattle other than Brahman crosses could not. I have watched them grazing on the sides of steep, rocky mountains in Italy, and literally eating cactus in Monterrey, Mexico where the only thing growing would either stick or prick you. I have watched them thrive in Florida’s hard going, insect infested, and heat sweltering back country. Since they can move so easily and cover a lot of ground, they are a top choice of cattlemen with large tracts of land where the bulls have to travel great distances to cover the cows. Romagnola are not only heat and insect resistant, hardy and can move well, the bulls are super fertile and will last for many years.

The cows have one of the highest butterfat percentages at 3.5, making their milk rich. Their udders are tucked well, with good teat placement, enabling them to graze in cactus and prickly vegetation. Romagnola cows not only milk well, but make excellent mothers. This is true of Romagnola crossed females as well. We have used many recipient cows,  and most of our best year to year have been our Romagnola crossed cows. They brought more money when we went to sell them than any other breed or cross breed. Our commercial cattle bull buyers have reported premiums when selling both their steers and/or heifers. In fact, most find it hard to sell the heifers which will bring about as much in the feedlot as their steer counterparts, and a premium when selling replacement heifers.

I invite you to read on about the Romagnola breed, and as you browse through the website, hopefully you will experience the amazing benefits of this powerful breed with lean and tender beef from Italy. We would be thrilled to share our knowledge and welcome you to visit the ranch at your first opportunity. Come see for yourselves why we are so enthusiastic about the cattle. We have a large inventory of females and bulls for sale, and embryos and semen for all your needs, whether you are a seedstock breeder or a commercial cattleman or cattlewoman. Give us a call and we’ll talk “Romagnola”!

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Consistent Calf Crop

The picture is three of our original seven Romagnola cattle we bought in Reno, Nevada.

After the Romagnola females calved alongside the Beefmaster cows, right off I noticed some amazing differences. The calves were very small, and started trying to stand right away after hitting the ground. Once they got up, they were very lively as if they were several days old. By the time they were around 6-7 months at weaning, the real differences showed. They were bulging with muscle all the way down their loin and through the hips, and were at least 100 pounds heavier than the best genetics we had in the Beefmaster breed, on the same conditions, and in the same pastures.  We bred some of our commercial recipient cows we had used for embryo transfer to both Beefmaster and Romagnola bulls, and the Romagnola crossed calves were also smaller and more lively at birth, yet heavier at weaning.

We grew off some of these Rom-cross calves and had them processed at about 15 months of age. The local packer, who had a large packing house and experience with a wide variety of breeds, was totally amazed at the uniformity and quality of the carcasses from these crosses. They were all “no-trim” carcasses, and all graded choice out of some mixed up commercial cows bred by a Romagnola bull. They all yielded over 65% and would have graded yield grade number 1. Years of experience, and the information on many feedlot steers reproduced these results time and time again over the years since then. We won every carcass and cooking contest we entered, including the first “Tennessee Grill Off” at the new Agricultural Expo Center in Franklin, TN., where we grilled steaks from a two year old bull that broke his leg. The meat from this animal amazed the judges due to the tender, lean, moist, and great tasting beef we presented. An added benefit is when you breed purebred Angus cattle to top Romagnola bulls, you will produce a small black calf that will grow off, and yield and grade the ideal carcass for today’s market - every time.

Romagnola Herd
For the commercial or purebred breeder, one of the most important things is a consistent calf crop.

Around 2000, we sent the genetics from several different lines of our Romagnola fullblood bulls to the testing station in the United States working on beef genes for muscle tenderness. It was found that the Romagnola genes from these animals ranked as high, or higher than any other breed of cattle tested for the tenderness gene. This news is not surprising, since “live” scores for tenderness have been at the top in meat judging contests all over the world, including as far as Australia where they get really serious about these events. One of the biggest international cattle expos in the world is held every three years in Rockhampton, Australia, and I personally attended several of these events since 1997. With each competition, the Romagnola and Romagnola crosses excelled in the meat judging, live steer weights, carcass competition, and on-the-hoof judging. They have won the “Jap Ox” contests every time I attended, in which a panel of expert judges evaluate live animals and their resultant carcasses bound for export to the Philippines and other Asian markets. Cattle are the number one export from Australia.